News & Views
Groundbreaking of Little Lehigh Public Housing Redevelopment
Phase I transforms outdated public housing into brand new, mixed-income community
Pennrose, Allentown Housing Authority, and project partners celebrated the groundbreaking of Little Lehigh Phase I, the first of the two-phase redevelopment of the 1970s-era public housing into brand new, amenity-rich affordable housing. Located off Lehigh Avenue, phase I will deliver 50 high-quality, mixed-income homes and a new 3,200 sf community building. The first phase is expected to be completed in winter 2023.
Speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony included: Daniel R. Farrell, Executive Director, Allentown Housing Authority; Mayor Matthew Tuerk, City of Allentown; Senator Bob Casey Jr., United States Senate; Senator Pat Browne, 16th District, Pennsylvania State Senate; Representative Pete G. Schweyer, District 22, Pennsylvania House of Representatives; Monica A. Hawkins, Director, Philadelphia Regional Office, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Jay Hausher, Director of Eastern Region, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; Neil Weaver, Acting Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development; Phil Armstrong, County Executive, Lehigh County; Mark H. Dambly, Chief Executive Officer, Pennrose, LLC; and Kimmel Cameron, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Underwriting, Hudson Housing Capital.
Little Lehigh Phase I includes the demolition of the site’s nine existing structures and the development of five new buildings with a mix of one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments across the 63,000+ SF development. The project also includes the development of a playground and community building with space for on-site management and maintenance, community room, resident amenities, and Head Start classroom. All residents will have access to robust on-site supportive services, including recreational and educational opportunities.
“The Little Lehigh community has provided affordable housing for low-income families for the last 50 years, today we are extending that life into the future”, said Daniel R. Farrell, executive director of the Allentown Housing Authority. “This would not have been possible without the commitment of Pennrose and our partners in the community. Together we have developed and preserved over 500 affordable apartments in the community.”
“We’re proud to continue years of successful partnership with Allentown Housing Authority to transform Little Lehigh, which has experienced significant deterioration over the last fifty years,” said Mark H. Dambly, chief executive officer at Pennrose. “Our shared vision for the site will provide the next generation of Little Lehigh residents with modern, sustainable housing and supportive services benefiting the local community for years to come.”
The project will have significant positive impacts for both residents and the surrounding community, with returning residents benefiting from larger units, energy-efficient appliances and fixtures, and more accessible apartments. Residents and the local community will also benefit from improved facades, landscaping, and enhanced security. All former Little Lehigh residents will be given the first opportunity to return to the new community.
Project financing includes LIHTC equity, City of Allentown HOME and HOME-ARP funds, Lehigh County Affordable Housing Trust funds (AHTF), Allentown Housing Authority funds, PHARE Housing Trust Funds (HTF) and Construction Cost Relief Program (CCRP) funds from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), Redevelopment Assistance Capital Funds (RACP) from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Keystone Communities Program (KCP) and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), and permanent debt from PHFA. The Allentown Housing Authority will also be providing 25 Project Based Vouchers to the completed project. Hudson Housing Capital is the syndicator for the project and Santander Bank is the investor and is also providing construction financing.
Pennrose is active throughout Pennsylvania and the tri-state region developing high-quality, affordable housing. Most recently, in October 2022, Pennrose celebrated the grand opening of North Hills Manor, the redevelopment of 1950s era public housing into brand new, affordable housing in Montgomery County. Pennrose also operates several affordable housing communities in Allentown, including West Turner Residences, Overlook Park, and Allentown Center Square.